365 project, Photography

Day 070 – Only mad dogs and Englishman go out in the midday sunĀ 

070-296
Day 70 – May 26th

The warm weather continues and I get home after work to find my three ladies at home, sat around looking fed up as they were just too hot to do anything. The paddling pool was still out and so we decided to put some clean water in it and throw the girls in. The wife was heading out to the hospital to visit her mom again that evening, so it was down to me to get the girls ready for bed. Both of them were feeling tired, so it was a fairly simple process. Chloe had her milk and was almost instantly read for bed, almost as if the milk was telling her body “time for sleep”. Olivia is allowed to watch the iPad in bad on a Friday and a Saturday night, so she was up early to watch a few episodes of Paw Patrol, the new favourite watch. We have had to put restrictions on the use of the iPad as Olivia is becoming quite obsessed with it, and I don’t think it is healthy to let little brains become absorbed in this virtual world. A report I read recently, which can be found here, suggested that even very young children can become addicted to them, and excessive screen time can lead to obesity, aggression and depression. We like to make sure that the girls get a balance of everything, painting, writing, outdoor play, as well as time in front of the tv to relax, and some iPad time, which I try to strictly regulate, as Olivia, although not even 4 yet, would live on the thing if she could! I don’t mind 30 minutes in bed on a Friday and Saturday night though, everything in moderation!

With the girls asleep, its time to put my feet up and relax, Friday night, the start of the weekend, and more importantly the start of half term and a whole week off work.

365 project, Photography

Day 066 – I may let go of your hand, but never your heart

066-300
Day 66 – May 22nd

They grow up so fast? Will she always be seen as the baby of the family? It seems like five minutes ago that we were putting her down for naps in her moses basket and all she did was drink milk all day. Now she walks, feeds herself, climbs the slide in the garden on her own, and has even started making sounds that sound like “Mah” and “Dah”. We’re not convinced the latter isn’t just coincidence, but we’d like to think she is close to calling us mommy and daddy. I can’t even think back and remember when Olivia actually started doing that, it feels like she’s always done it!

Olivia from age 1-3 was a fun and exciting time, as her personality developed and she learned to do so much. I just want to make sure we get just as excited when Chloe does it, just because she’s the second child, doesn’t mean its any less of an achievement!

365 project, Photography

Day 65 – Summer arrives and we find we’re allergic to it

065-301
Day 65 – May 21st

Sunday really started to feel like summer was finally here, temperatures on the rise and the ground drying out from all the rain we’ve had. Likewise, the pollen count starts to rise and almost as if to punish us for enjoying the sunshine, it brings with it misery for hayfever sufferers like myself. Each year is different, and thankfully this year hasn’t been too bad so far, I am sure there is worse to come!

We’ve had a childrens party on the calendar for quite a while for today, from one well prepared parent at Olivia’s nursery. It seems that the popular choice for children around this age is to have it at a soft play centre of some description, and thankfully this one wasn’t far away from us. It was one we were unfamiliar with, and one we may well consider using again, as it was especially suitable for smaller kids. Half the problem with a lot of soft play centres is that they are geared up for older kids who are bigger and a bit sturdier, not only are some of the areas difficult for smaller kids to climb up, but the bigger kids tend to be much more reckless… and the parents rarely watch what they’re doing! The real bonus at todays party was that the entire place was hired out to just the one party, so it was closed off to the public. We still didn’t know a lot of the parents in there, but it was a little more reassuring that everyone was somehow connected and all the kids were a little safer. Soft play centres can be a little chaotic at the best of times, and you always have to watch your children like a hawk, being able to relax a little is a welcome relief.

Back at home the sun was out and it was time to get a little gardening done, pulling up a few weeds and tidying things up a little, with some help from Olivia. I happened to notice how the clematis that my sister had bought me for my birthday a couple of years ago had flowered again, and how pretty it looked. It was worthy of a photo for today. I’m still waiting for the rest of the flowers in the garden to blossom. Growing them from seed is a lovely way to do things, but they always seem to take a little longer.

365 project, Photography

Day 064 – Its not the size of your family, its how often you see them

064-302
Day 64 – May 20th

When the wife and me sat down to plan our wedding about six years ago, one thing became obvious very quickly, in that there is a huge contrast in the size of our families. My mom, for example, was one of six, whereas the mother-in-law was an only child. Consequently, I have many cousins, whereas the wife only has one.

Whilst growing up, I used to play with my cousins a lot, almost as much as I played with my friends, in fact they were pretty much just an extension of my friends. Over the years the family has broken down quite a bit, to the point where we barely see each other now, my mom and her siblings don’t really get on a great deal. As a result, family get togethers are few and far between, which does make me a little sad considering how much we used to see each other while we were growing up. In fact one of my cousins even unfriended me on facebook because her mom and my mom don’t get along, yet me and her have never fallen out, in fact far from it, we were quite close at one point, and now because of our mothers squabbling she’s turned her back on me. Still, families are weird, and there is certainly no escaping this fact, no matter how big or small they are. Having a smaller family, like my wife’s does make things much easier, and the fact is that they all still see each other much more frequently.

Olivia and Chloe have got four cousins, although the two from my side, my sisters girls, are all grown up, so we don’t see a great deal of them. The two from my wife’s side, her brothers children are still little, with one the same age as Olivia, so they like to play with each other whenever they get chance. Today happened to be one of those days, although it soon became obvious that the new kids film ‘Sing’ was taking over the living room today! At least they weren’t running around and screaming like idiots!

365 project, Photography

Day 062 – Happy birthday to me

062-304
Day 62 – May 18th

Yup, its my birthday! I’ve reached that ripe old age where going out to celebrate seems to be becoming slightly less important, just as long as I can put my feet up with a glass of something in my hand in front of a good film, I’m happy!

The original plan was to head out with the wife and girls for a meal as soon as I got home from work. Yes, I had to spend the day at work, as sadly in my job, taking a day off for a birthday isn’t really an option, so I have to work any birthday that isn’t on a Saturday or a Sunday. When my mother and sisters all suggested coming over to visit that evening, it made more sense to stay at home and order in some food. It didn’t matter quite so much what time people arrived then, and they could all see the girls properly without anyone having to rush their food so we could get back for the girls bedtime.

It was a lovely evening and everyone enjoyed the cupcakes that the wife had made, even if she had decorated them with a less than typical birthday message. There is no denying it now though, I am officially old!

365 project, Photography

Day 061 – I’ve been here before

061-305
Day 61 – May 17th

A day of hope and uncertainty. For me it’s birthday eve, time to open a few cards and presents with the wife and girls as I almost certainly won’t have time in the morning. I run a tight ship getting ready for work in the morning, and don’t have a lot of time for anything that can otherwise wait until later. Tomorrow I’ll have the family coming over straight after work, so I’ll be needing to entertain them when they arrive. 

The girls have got me a bottle of bourbon, although fairly certain they had some help in purchasing that! The wife had bought me a bottle of rather expensive aftershave I’d had my eye on for a while, but had never bought for myself because of its price. I remember mentioning this in passing while I was looking online, although not as any kind of hint, but it seems that the wife was actually listening!

The more significant part of the day was that the mother in law was going back into hospital for her second operation, and it was going to be a pretty big event. It had to be done, but it left us all literally feeling a bit useless all day as we waited for some news that they’d finally finished and that all had gone well.

Thankfully they finished on time, as planned, and everything had gone well. A massive relief!

365 project, Photography

Day 060 – I don’t want it to always be like this

060-306
Day 60 – May 16th

Another year has rolled around again, and with my birthday almost here, I sit here and wonder where a whole 12 months has gone, and wonder what I did with my time… and how the hell it made 12 months vanish in a flash!

This time last year I was about to turn forty, it was the last couple of days of my thirties, and I guess I was feeling a little reflective. My thirties had been far better to me that I had ever imagined, especially when I consider where I was, and what was happening when I actually turned thirty. It wasn’t a great place, I jumped into a job that I hated and was dating a girl who was totally not suited to me. She was a party girl who gave no thought to the future, and was all about pleasing herself, I didn’t even get a present for my thirtieth birthday. Forget surprise trips to Vegas or New York like some of my friends seemed to be enjoying, I just had to be grateful she’d bothered to get me a card, seriously!

Anyway, without going into too much detail about that, roughly about 18 months later I met my wonderful wife, who has changed my life in so many wonderful ways, and given me two beautiful girls. So as I sit here looking back on what has been, I can’t be too regretful for the choices I’ve made, as they’ve brought me here to where I am today.

My only real regret is that we don’t make enough time for each other at the moment. Its all part and parcel of being parents, the girls are young, and they come before everything else. They are our world and we both put them above ourselves and each other. We had no idea what being a parent would actually be like beforehand, regardless of what people told us, so this overwhelming love for our children that has made absolutely everything else less of a priority has kind of created an unwritten understanding between me and the wife, in that I am no longer her number one any more, and vice versa… the girls come first. We happily accept this, and know that one day they will become independent young ladies, and we will be left with little option but to turn the focus back to ourselves again.

It would be nice, however, to make sure that me and the wife still have a bit of time together, as a couple, to enjoy each others company. To remember what makes the other one smile, and enjoy all the reasons we got together in the first place. We just need to show a little more patience first, our time will come!

Moving onto todays photo, this particular evening I had invited over an old school friend, back from when I was at infant and junior school, so it has been a good few years since we not only knew each other, but actually last saw each other, up until we’d started meeting just before Christmas. She had enquired about photography training courses on facebook, and I replied that I had been thinking of putting some together. If she was willing to be my guinea pig, then I’d happily share my knowledge for free. We both got something out of it, and it was great to catch up too, especially as she wasn’t living far away. She may well be reading this, and I hope she doesn’t mind me using this photo for the day, it was only taken to demonstrate a lighting technique, but I think it turned out well!

Canon 50D – Canon 24-70mm @ 31mm – F/3.5 – ISO400 – 1/160s – Canon 430EX speedlite off-camera w/radio trigger